I sat pondering in a sacrament meeting one day looking at the table (or altar) on which the emblems of the sacrament, the bread and water, were placed.
Both above and below the emblems are a pair of white sheets. I have often heard it said that the white sheets covering the sacramental emblems was to give the impression of the body of Christ on an altar. This always made sense to me because there are numerous references to Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who gave his own life as an offering for our sins.
However on this day my thoughts went down another road.
The modern ordinance that we call the ‘sacrament’ used to be something else before the atonement. Since Adam and throughout the era where the Law of Moses was in effect, that table or altar used to be an edifice where animals were slain and consumed by fire. We have in our modern ordinances emblems that represent the flesh and blood of a sacrificial victim, and an altar on which they are placed, but what are these white linens covering the emblems? What do they represent? I began to wonder if it was possible that the white cloth could be a representation of the fire that enveloped the sacrificial emblems.
Fire and the Presence of God
All these thoughts reminded me of how the presence of God is often related to fire; here are a few significant verses:Read Full Post
With three points we have for the first time, dimension. Three was considered to be the first number whereas one and two were looked upon as the parents of numbers (A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, by Michael Schneider – 1st ed., 39). Although three becomes the first number, it only exists in the 2 dimensional world. No matter how you configure the points, it will always produce a flat plane of undefined thickness that does not exist in the three dimensional world.
We can construct a perfect equilateral triangle with using various points of the vesica piscis. Three occurs all over scripture and there is something about the number three that makes things feel complete. The most obvious reference in Christianity is to the holy Godhead made up of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We have the elements of three occurring in our physical birth into the world and also in our spiritual rebirth as children of Christ. This is illustrated in Moses 6:59-60:
That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
The temples of the Old Testament were made up of three areas:Read Full Post
The link to the article is above, but I would like to interject a little commentary on the topic as well.
It is common knowledge that Latter-day Saints wear white clothing in the temple as a symbol of purity and many other things in relation to their relationship with God.
Matthew Brown begins his article by stating:
“It is publicly acknowledged that Latter-day Saints who participate in the central temple rites of their faith dress in several layers of ceremonial clothing, consisting of a “white undergarment” (which is worn as part of everyday life) and “other priestly robes” (which are only worn during times of temple service).” Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 2:534
Many people are familiar with the “white undergarment” that LDS members who have gone through the Endowment ordinance wear on a daily basis under their normal clothes. Others might not be as aware of the other ceremonial clothing mentioned in the above quote.
That ceremonial clothing has similarities to the priestly robes worn during ancient temple service. You can read about that particular clothing in the Old Testament in Exodus 28 among other places:Read Full Post
I read this in “A Beginner’ Guide to Constructing the Universe” and found it fascinating. It is about how the number seven is tied to the seven-note diatonic musical scale as a representation of the universe.
“In ancient times it was traditional to arrange the strings to play the scale downward, as if it were descending from heaven. The modern names of the seven familiar notes in the descending order DO-SI-LA-SOL-FA-MI-RE-DO, were proposed by Guido d’Arezzo, inventor of the musical staff, around 1000 A.D. These popular names are only the first letters of Latin words whose translation reveals a cosmological structure derived from an earlier age:” (Beginners, 234)
DOminus: Lord – Absolute
SIder: Stars – All galaxies
LActea: Milk – Milky Way Galaxy
SOL: Sun – the Sun
FAta: Fate – Planets
MIcrocosmos: Small universe – Earth
REgina Coeli: Queen of the Heavens – Moon
DOminus: Lord – Absolute
You see “DO” repeated twice, it is meant to imply that everything begins and thenRead Full Post
When you start with one point and then add a second point, you have just created distance which can be represented by connecting the two points into a single line but a “line” doesn’t exist in nature just like a single point doesn’t exist in nature.
Thus, two was not considered a ‘number’ but, like one, an originator of numbers.
“In the Dyad we see the Monad refract as Two. The Dyad emphasized difference. It foreshadows the world’s apparent boundaries, conflict and echoes our own sense of separation. Opposites appear when separateness begins. (A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, by Michael Schneider – 1st ed., 36)
This is where things get interesting. Ponder the prior quote when reading Lehi’s words in 2 Nephi 2:11-13:Read Full Post
Interestingly enough, the number “one” wasn’t considered a “number” according to many groups like the Pythagoreans (around 500 B.C). One was the progenitor of all numbers, it was the source by which all numbers came into being. It represented unity, but not any kind of unity that was conceivable in this world.
Confused? Think about it, a single point does not exist anywhere in nature. Even a dot on a sheet of paper is not a point, because upon magnification, we find a circle that has a radius and circumference so therefore it doesn’t constitute an actual point without sides, length, height and depth. Because of this otherworldly connotation of one, it had divine qualities attached to it. “Just as unity is in every number / thus God the one is everwhere in everything” – Angelus Silesius (The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, by Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism and ARAS, 710)
The shape that is best suited to represent the number one is a circle. A shape without sides or other dimensions, the center of the circle becomes emblematic of the invisible point that we know as “one”. Like a stone dropped into a pond, the single point radiates outward into endless circles. The circle can represent:
- Eternity (eternal time)
- Covenants (circumcision, arrangement of people or objects in a circle)
- Blood (the sacrament cup, properties of liquid)
- The Spirit (via the symbolism of the Liahona)
- A complete cycle (orbit, seasons, return, etc)
- Water (water pulls itself into a spherical shape, ie: drops)
- Bounds or Perimeter (Proverbs 8:27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:)
- The Sun
- The Moon
Since a compass is the tool used to create circles, the compass may also beRead Full Post
Chances are that you are familiar with the “All-seeing-eye” symbol, but your feelings toward it vary on the context that is it presented in. There are connections to this symbol ranging from the Masons, to the so-called New World Order, the occult and, yes, Christianity.
Probably one of the most common usages of it is on the back of our one dollar bill. The eye is topped with the words “Annuit Coeptis,” which means “He approves (or has approved) [our] undertakings” the ‘He’ being God indicating his approval of our actions during the Revolutionary War.
The eye within a triangle shows up anciently in Egyptian mythology, Buddism andRead Full Post
We have a parable and two visions to look at here. The parable of the sower is a familiar New Testament parable related by Jesus Christ to a multitude from a ship on the sea shore about the various types of ground certain seeds were cast on to. The first vision is an account in the Book of Mormon by a prophet named Lehi who sees a vision revolving around a tree of life and a description of the various types of people he observes. The second vision is an account from Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the degrees of glory that exist in the hereafter and a description of the characteristics of those inhabitants.
In the parable of the sower, we are taught by the Master about seeds cast into various situations and what the consequences were. The parable is found in Matthew 13 in the New Testament.
- Good ground: (Brought forth fruit; some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.)
Interpretation: To those that hear the word and understand it, they will all bear fruit but at varying degrees.
- The way side: (Fowls came and devoured them up)
Interpretation: When any one hears the word of the kingdom, but doesn’t understand it the adversary can come and steal away whatever was sown in his heart.
- Thorns: (The thorns sprung up, and choked them.)
Interpretation: This is one that hears the word, but the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word.
- Stony places: (There was not much earth so when they sprung up they were scorched by the sun because they had no root and they withered away.)
Interpretation: This is one that hears the word and receives it gladly but because ‘he hath not root in himself’, he endures for a while but is immediately offended when tribulation and persecution arise.
Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life
In Lehi’s vision there are multitudes of people pressing towardRead Full Post
The idea of ‘renewing’ a covenant seems initially kind of strange when I think about it. A covenant is a contract so if you break the terms of the contract isn’t the contract null and void? Why do we have to keep renewing a promise that we have already made? Or how about this: Why would God make a covenant with man, if he knows that every single one of us will break it?
I was thinking back to the era of the Law of Moses. God made covenants with Israel, yet they still had these sin and peace offerings that they could make from time to time as needed. So what exactly is going on here with the covenants we make today? When doctrinal issues seem a bit muddled, it’s always best to go to back to the source and break everything down into digestible parts.
Let’s examine the sacrament prayers themselves for more insight on the covenants we make.
The blessing on the bread:
“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”
First, we learn that we are eating the bread in remembranceRead Full Post
After an Institute of Religion class, my teacher and I were having a discussion in his office. He asked if he could show me something; he grabbed a book and took his seat across the table from me. He asked me to close my eyes and focus on envisioning what he was going to be reading to me. What he read was a very descriptive narrative of a climb to the top of a mountain that was meant to be imagined from the perspective of the reader.
This simple narrative was amazingly effective at teaching a few important principles that I will cover later. With a few words, my paradigm had been shifted concerning how I approach my Father in Heaven in prayer.
Below is the text that was read to me and since you can’t read this with your eyes closed, I suggest possibly having someone read this to you or for the time being, read it slow and try and project what you are reading into your mind’s eye. Do your best to clear your mind, find a quiet place and simply focus; if you simply skim it, you will getRead Full Post
by Valerie Hudson Cassler
[Author’s Note: This presentation was given with an accompanying PowerPoint that utilized visuals to illustrate the points being made…Also, as a transcript of an oral address, the speech is more colloquial than an academic would normally use; my apologies.]
I’m delighted to be here today with you at FAIR. I think I came last year with Ralph Hancock and Richard Sherlock and we talked a little bit about SquareTwo. [Slide Two, on SquareTwo, is shown.] So to repeat the refrain may I simply remind you that SquareTwo is aiming to be the best online journal of LDS thought concerning the important issues of the world today. Our articles and comments are always reviewed. When we’ve had extremely controversial issues discussed, we’ve had up to 50,000 viewers of our various articles. In fact, just in our last spring issue, the very last issue, we had one of the only articles written about polygamy by a faithful Mormon woman. So there is a female perspective on polygamy, perspective such as D&C 132 makes it absolutely plain that polygamy is an Abrahamic sacrifice. And from what we know of Abrahamic sacrifices, they are always temporally bounded and there is always a ram in the thicket, whether that be in this life or the next life. And that is why we do not baptize those who are living polygamously even in countries where that practice is legal, because outside of a commandment to perform an Abrahamic sacrifice, an Abrahamic sacrifice is always an abomination. However, monogamy is never an abomination; it is rather one of the chief blessings of God. So that’s one of the things you can lay on some of those 16 year old girls who ask you.1
All right, let’s get to the real talk here. I didn’t join the Church because I was a feminist, butRead Full Post
First and most obvious is the fact that both Jesus and the Book of Mormon initially had a very controversial message. Some recognized truth immediately, while it took some time for others and yet more, even the vast majority, rejected the message altogether.
That said, there are many interesting similarities between the life of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon itself particularly surrounding the death and resurrection:
Christ: buried and sealed in a stone sepulcher
BofM: buried and sealed in a stone box
Christ: round stone covered tomb
BofM: round stone covered box
Christ: Angels present when stone was rolled back
BofM: Angel present when stone was rolled back
Christ: Taught the word of God
BofM: Teaches the word of God
Christ: Witness saw him, 12 apostles and hundred of others
BofM: Witnesses saw it 12 official witnesses along with several more
Christ: Ascended to heaven with angels present
BofM: Taken back to heaven by an angel
Christ: Must rely on faith to believe
BofM: Must rely on faith to believe
Christ: Only physical evidence remaining are his words
BofM: Only physical evidence remaining are it’s words
Both Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon were buried in the earth and brought forth with angel(s) present, there were witnesses and they were removed from our presence with only their words for us to examine through the Spirit. So here is theRead Full Post